Peak performance implies a business is operating in a highly competitive state delivering predictable success. We view in the same way Les McKeown alludes to in his excellent book predictable success - as a 4th business growth stage, where the business achieves a harmonious balance between structure, process and people; Setting and consistently achieving goals and objectives with a predictable degree of success. The business is under control and feels great!
Organizational Health helps drive a company into and remain at peak performance. The Power of Organizational Health comes largely from the alignment of Business and Talent Strategy. Optimizing talent is a dynamic, iterative process synchronized with the evolving strategy as the business navigates its best path, overcomes hurdles and harnesses the full capacity and creatively of the whole organization
At a high level the journey to peak performance and remaining there is about “Awareness” - Individual, and company.
Self-awareness, and awareness of others, the business, roles and taking ownership with accountability. Awareness of the Company purpose, vision, core values, capabilities, services, products, people, roles, team dynamics and culture. This is the role of the leadership to help teams optimize the moving parts.
It's not what you don't know that gets you in trouble, It's what you do know that ain't so!
A wise unknown author
Awareness enables an appreciation of where things are both personally and professionally. Data diagnostics and analytics provide an evidence based picture across the whole organization and an appreciation of drivers and deficits for insights to make quicker better decisions. Armed with evidence and insight leadership can intentional lead and drive the business empowering the whole workforce.
Why do other businesses reach out to us for help?
Growth, accurately increase productivity
Improve control and dependencies for a better quality of life, more personal time, and peace of mind
Operations not keeping up with sales
Transform the company into a valuable, marketable asset
Prepare for successful M&A at the top of the range of values, and change illiquid value into AUM
Ready for acquisition and need help getting everything in the right place
Why is it so hard to consistently meet our revenue numbers?
Why aren't we hitting our sales goals?
Have we stopped growing? Our business seems flat.
Shouldn't more people know about our company and what we can do for them?
I'm not sure I know how we stack up to others in our industry.
I have a better product; why are my competitors ahead of me?
I've got a great group of really smart people working for me, so why can't we work together as a team?
I want better data on my company to help me make decisions and get my team aligned.
My company depends on me to be at my best every day; I can't even take a real vacation!
I seem to be working more hours and don't have any progress to show for it?
I'd like to spend more time with my family!
My business doesn’t make enough money to live, invest in the business and save for retirement
People, process and product must evolve for a business to overcome market and competitor challenges, and natural hurdles faced through unavoidable business stages.
Let's take a brief look at the 7 business stages to put peak performance in context and highlight some of the key challenges a leadership team must overcome with adaptability and resilience.
Each business stage, regardless of industry, or niche presents similar hurdles, and challenges owners and leaderships teams experience.
A binary outcome, progress or the business fails - running out of funds before establishing and cashing in on market demand - At least 2/3 of entrepreneurs don’t get past here on their first attempt.
With the market now established, we have some clients and cashflow. Sales activities drive the company, seeking rapid growth and focus on increasing clients. Revenue rises exponentially from a low starting point. Debt might be taken on to expand. Adding staff, new offices, locations, maybe extravagant marketing campaigns and higher amounts of discretionary spending. A fun growth phase.
1st stage growth can evolve from early, to mid and late stages.
Some business owners may choose not to grow too much, or do and pull back or for various reason are unable to attain the growth they seek.
Where the total addressable market is big and attractive enough, and growth is possible there are numerous pitfalls and reasons for failure, many grouped into poor leadership; A belief or mindset around managing employees, control, the need to micromanage, inability to let go, delegate, or develop the leadership team necessary. Or simply being comfortable with the status quo, having met aspirations and have no desire to expand.
Whatever the reason, the majority of the 30 million businesses who have made it past viability are either solopreneurs or small “mom and pop” businesses in this stage. The changes necessary to get beyond here, often requires specific help, and support that either is not recognize, not or poorly found. There are many unqualified companies offering help. Being in early 1st phase of growth, without reliable lead generation, coupled with client attrition can precipitate a slip back into viability, a stutter and fail. Similarly, marketing, and lead generation cannot fix fundamental business flaws, where precipitous falls also await.
Successfully continuing to grow the business, adding more clients brings complexity that requires development of the business Structure, Process and People. A business naturally hits ceilings at various growth points unique to it's capabilities, and people. As growth continues, issues tend to become more impactful. Tactical and short-term band aids that may have held things together before, in sales, marketing, customer service, vendors supply chain, inventory..no longer work well enough.
At the beginning of 1st growth the infrastructure; processes and structure are underdeveloped. Often, people in the business compensate with ad-hoc tactical solutions, which can lead to duplication, inefficiency and increasing customer dissatisfaction. Resources are spread too thinly, and unable to contend with surges in volume and resulting complexity. The simple lean business that employed only 10 in the early days where all hands were at the pump, grows to 15 then 35 to 95. Now with layers of management, communication slows down, inaccuracies and issues begin to occur more frequently - Change is necessary which often starts at the top - grow or die. As the leadership goes so goes the business.
How does a company navigate and balance growth and infrastructure alignment to avoid or mitigate pain points?
Many clients we work with are moving through this stage; are aware, recognize and embrace the challenges, are making decisions and acting on them. The overarching shift here is from a sales focus to profitability, but not at the expense of revenue!
Achieving sustained profitable growth requires consistent processes, policies and systems grappling with and juggling business drivers and priorities. These changes can prove to be extremely hard if not viewed through an appropriate lens, and acted upon!
Deciding what to do is easier than executing, and making it stick is difficult. More personnel, and roles means broader skill-sets, specialty knowledge, experience, diverse behaviors, abilities, and capabilities, management, and competition for talent.
Steering through greater complexity and increasing business demands requires alignment of structure, process and systems to scale in control with the right people. A distinct shift occurs to get through this pivotal stage! Perhaps the greatest ROI opportunity available to any business is lifting the performance of the workforce. Attracting and retaining the right talent, aligning business and people strategy requires cohesive leadership placing team results first.
Unlike prior stages in peak performance leadership knows why things are working. The business is in balance structure, process and people are in harmony. Organizational health get's us here. Goals and objectives are consistently set and achieved with a predictable degree of success.
At this stage we have probably achieved most of the objectives we set out to accomplish and definitely vanquished many if not all pain points previously plaguing us. More time, not a slave to the business able to transition to other things; acquisitions or sell at highest value.
At a high level it’s a simple misstep, by over doing it and shifting the business too far toward dependence on operationalization! Some of the key behaviors that enabled peak performance; creativity, risk-taking, and initiative, decline and the business slides into a more sterile state. Akin to running in sand and not getting far for the effort exerted. A lot of energy is spent, but there’s little sense of progress. Too much emphasis on a formula, and micro-management strangling creativity, risk taking and initiative essential to agility, resilience tip the balance of Talent, Process and Structure off kilter. Signs; good people begin to leave.
The following 2 stages, Free Fall and Last Gasp are somewhat self explanatory.
Data, analytics, - insights are the new business currency
Your business like your marketplace is complex. Without a clear picture of organizational health you cannot achieve the performance desired.
Through an Initial Consultation we explore our fit, identify aspirations, key challenges and how we might deliver the greatest impact together.